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Queer Town: New Poll Shows Prop. 8 Losing

On Wednesday night, the Public Policy Institute of California, a highly respected, non-partisan polling group, released new numbers on Proposition 8, the November 4 ballot measure that would ban same sex marriage in California. According to its findings, 53 percent of likely voters would vote "no" on Prop. 8, while 44 percent would vote "yes." "It's getting closer," says PPIC President Mark Baldassare, "but still a majority opposes (Proposition 8)."

The poll was taken between October 12 and 19, around the time the No on 8 campaign aired a strong TV ad titled "Unfair." 1,186 likely voters were polled, which is a very solid sampling, and better than the SurveyUSA poll, which found Prop. 8 was winning. Pollsters read the actual ballot language to these likely voters, which says the measure would "eliminate" the right for gays and lesbians to be legally married, and then they gave their responses.

PPIC also found these results:

29 percent of likely Democratic voters said they would vote "yes" on Prop. 8, 67 percent would vote "no," and 4 percent "don't know." With likely Republican voters, 70 percent would vote "yes," 26 percent said "no," and 4 percent "don't know." With Independent voters, 39 percent would vote "yes," 58 percent said "no," and 4 percent "don't know."

When the numbers are broken down according to regions, 54 percent of likely voters in the Central Valley said they would vote "yes" on Prop. 8, 43 percent said "no," and 3 percent "don't know." In the San Francisco/Bay Area, 29 percent would vote "yes," 67 percent said "no," and 3 percent "don't know. In the Los Angeles area, 42 percent would vote "yes," 55 percent said "no," and 4 percent "don't know." In the rest of Southern California, 52 percent would vote "yes," 42 percent said "no," and 6 percent "don't know."

With ideology, 19 percent of likely voters who call themselves "liberal" would vote "yes," 77 percent said "no," and 3 percent "don't know." 41 percent of "moderates" would vote "yes," 54 percent said "no," and 5 percent "don't know." 72 percent of "conservatives" would vote "yes," 25 percent said "no," and 4 percent "don't know."

In terms of race, PPIC didn't have a large enough sampling of African Americans to include them in the poll. But, pollsters found that 43 percent of likely Latino voters would vote "yes," 53 percent said "no," and 3 percent "don't know." 44 percent of whites would vote "yes," 52 percent said "no," and 4 percent "don't know."

With age, 37 percent of likely voters between the age of 18 and 34 said they would vote "yes," 59 percent said "no," and 4 percent "don't know." 42 percent of likely voters between the age of 35 and 54 said they would vote "yes," 55 percent said "no," and 3 percent "don't know." 50 percent of likely voters who are 55 years old or older said they would vote "yes," 44 percent said "no," and 6 percent "don't know."

When all likely voters were asked if they favored or opposed same sex marriage, which is a separate question from whether or not they oppose Proposition 8, 47 percent said they "favor" same sex marriage, 49 percent "oppose" it, and 5 percent "don't know." Of this statistic, Baldassare says, "It's pointing to the fact that the electorate is closely divided on this issue."

Lastly, likely voters for both sides of the Proposition 8 battle were asked if the outcome of the November 4 vote was "very important," "somewhat important," "not too important," or "not at all important." For the "Yes" side, 69 percent of likely voters said the outcome was "very important," 20 percent said "somewhat important," 7 percent said "not too important," 3 percent said "not at all important," and 1 percent did not know.

For the "No" side, 49 percent said the outcome was "very important," 32 percent said "somewhat important," 13 percent "not too important," and 6 percent said "not at all important." Baldassare said these numbers show the Yes side may be more passionate about the Prop. 8 outcome.

More than race, gender, or anything else, Baldassare believes that "party politics" will be the most crucial factor in the final vote. "Obviously, the No side is going to benefit from a big Democratic turn out."

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.


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